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The Roundup for April 22, 2011

Have a fine weekend.

• I’m guessing Maria Cantwell feels vindicated that the Obama Administration is finally investigating speculation in the oil markets; she’s been on this for a long time.

• A one-stop source on the national debt. Or, if you prefer, the day the debt limit is reached in narrative form.

• Paul Krugman on the health care “smart shoppers” myth. Jon Walker argues that this is true of the Democratic plan as well, but there is a difference of degree here.

• For crappy op-eds of the day, we have a tie: Scott Walker trying to destroy Medicaid, in the name of “reforming” it (he touts BadgerCare in this op-ed even as his own budget rolls it back), and Lisa Murkowski lying about how much oil the US produces.

• Op-ed from an alternate universe of the day: Noam Chomsky in Salon. Scott Walker and Lisa Murkowski get prime print journalism real estate, Chomsky can’t.

• This is a very misleading story about strategic defaults. I’d like to think that strategic defaults are a legitimate phenomenon, but all the data, anecdotal and physical, says they’re not.

• Susan Collins becomes the first GOP Senator to say she’d vote against the Paul Ryan budget.

• President Obama renders judgment on an impending (maybe) trial of Bradley Manning. I wish he’d tell me if my traffic ticket was valid or not to save me the trouble of contesting it. The bigger issue than Obama prejudicing the court is the use of this assertion of guilt to prop up an indefinite detention regime.

• Bank of America signed a loan modification agreement on a building in Boca Raton, FL. JPMorgan, the owner of the loan, tried to foreclose on them anyway. Poetic.

• Spencer Bachus, the new chair of the House Financial Services Committee, made 97% of his campaign contributions off of wealthy, out-of-state donors. He’s getting right on to serving the banks because the banks are serving him.

• I’d hardly call this an influential business group, but duly noted – they’re cool with higher taxes.

• Yet another GOP Rep. takes the heat at a town hall meeting over his vote to end Medicare. The fact that this pushback isn’t organized whatsoever is both refreshing (because individuals are taking initiative) and confounding (because shouldn’t there be some kind of organizing going on?).

• Buh-bye green product boom. They cost more money and that’s a luxury a country with stagnating wages cannot afford.

• Syrian protesters tore down statues of figures associated with the ruling regime.

• Remember, everyone, drone attacks are precise and accurate and never cause a backlash. Good thing we’re taking them to Libya.

• Eight years ago, Charles Krauthammer disqualified himself from any legitimate punditry. He remains a well-paid pundit.

• Another day of competing rallies in Yemen. Ali Abdullah Saleh “welcomed the initiative” of the Gulf Cooperation Council plan for transition, but intimated that it was unconstitutional. I don’t think he’s going anywhere.

• Mitt Romney would have trouble in some states, but he expands the map against Obama in the Northeast and probably the Midwest as well.

• The fighting isn’t over in Ivory Coast.

Perfect: Nutjob Koran-burning pastor Terry Jones goes to Dearborn, Michigan for a protest, brings a firearm, accidentally discharges it in his car on his way from a TV interview.

• Shorter Christine O’Donnell: the computer ate my campaign finance report.

• Among Donald Trump’s many accomplishments include killing the USFL. I loved the USFL. My pee-wee football team played at Veterans Stadium at halftime of a Philadelphia Stars-Washington Federals game.

• I’m surprised that Trig trutherism is still a going concern. I’m not sure what it was meant to prove anyway; it’s not like anyone lacks for criticism of Sarah Palin on more legitimate grounds. The lengths to which people will believe certain things is pretty crazy.

• Have a Good Friday.

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David Dayen

David Dayen